A 60-year-old farmer from Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district is critical after he allegedly set himself ablaze over indebtedness in the early hours of Sunday, his family members and a district official said.
However, the senior official said it cannot be immediately confirmed whether the farmer attempted suicide over an outstanding loan as being claimed by his kin.
The incident occurred within a month after two farmers allegedly committed suicide in the district over indebtedness.
Shyamrao Bhopale, a resident of Marlegaon village in Umarkhed taluka of the district, allegedly doused himself in kerosene in front of his house before setting himself on fire, said Resident Deputy Collector (RDC) Narendra Fulzele.
Bhopale was rushed to a rural hospital in Umarkhed, from where doctors referred him to Nanded government medical college, he said.
Bhopales condition is critical, he said.
The farmer’s sons — Ramdas and Pandurang — have claimed that their father attempted suicide due to loan liability and failure of crops.
Bhopale, who owns 1.5 acres of land, had sown tur and soybean crops which failed to produce expected yield, they said, adding that the gram crop he had sown during Rabi season too had failed.
“Our father had a loan outstanding of Rs 17,360 as on June 10, 2016. He became a defaulter on June 30, 2017,” they claimed, adding that Bhopale was not entitled to avail the loan waiver benefit under the state government scheme.
While one of the two sons of Bhopale is disabled, another son works in Mumbai as a daily wager. All his three daughters are married.
Resident Deputy Collector Fulzele said Bhopale sustained 80 per cent burns.
He said Bhopale had loan outstanding of over Rs 17,000.
“However, it is not known yet whether he attempted to take his life due to the loan burden,” the officer said.
Yavatmal district in eastern Maharashtra is notorious for suicides of farmers.
Two farmers from the district — Shankar Chayare and Madhavrao Rawate — had killed themselves on April 10 and April 14, respectively, apparently due to indebtedness.
In a tweet, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said, “the Govt has not yet awaken and extended its help to the farmers even after the recurring suicides and Shyamrao’s attempt to suicide is the consequence of the Govt’s apathy towards the problems faced by the farmers.